This was originally posted to: Guemes Island Ferry Committee

GIFC Minutes 2019-07-16

Call to order

A meeting of Guemes Island Ferry Committee (GIFC) was held at Guemes Library on July 16, 2019 starting at 7:05 pm. Attendees included: Allen Bush, John Hopkins, Sandy McKean, David Prewitt, Bud Ullman. Guests in attendance included Barb Ohms, Carson Parks, Ginger Orsini, and Edith Walden.

Guest Input (limited to 5 minutes per person)

Ginger: She has observed in recent days or weeks that some walk-ons are sneaking past ferry workers, who are busy with the summer crowds, and riding for free (aka “riding dirty”).

Approval of minutes

Minutes of the June 18, 2019 meeting were approved as presented, and as previously authorized for publishing by the GIFC via email.

Unfinished business


Allen reported that it is possible to add an auto-response reply to emails sent to the GIFC’s Linetime generic email address (”). It was decided that the auto-response should include the thoughts that:
1. Your input is important to us.
2. We will discuss your email at our next monthly meeting held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at the Guemes Island Library.
Allen also reported that the GIFC has had a generalized gmail address for some time (; however, it is not known who actually owns the gmail account. The password for this account is also not known.

Quarterly meeting scheduling

It was agreed that GIFC quarterly meetings be held during the 1st two weeks of each quarter. One of those quarterly meetings should be scheduled midweek. A flyer announcing each quarterly meeting will be posted at the following locations 2 weeks in advance:
• Both ferry terminals
• The community hall bulletin board
• The church
• The GI Library
• The Guemes General Store
• Inside the ferry cabin
A photo of the flyer will also be posted on island online websites two weeks in advance.
One week in advance an announcement for the quarterly meeting will be posted at these locations:
• Sandwich board placed at the Guemes side ferry terminal and at the hall.
• Chalkboard at the Guemes side ferry terminal
An agenda for each quarterly meeting will be published on the island online sites as soon as it is available.

An invitation, including an agenda, will be sent to the Skagit County Commissioners, appropriate Skagit County Public Works personnel, and the Ferry Manager before each quarterly meeting. This invitation will include the dates of future quarterly meetings (both for the remainder of the current year and for the next year).
Given that these procedures for managing the GIFC quarterly meetings are new in 2019, we will need to implement these procedures on a more ad hoc basis for the remainder of 2019. We will attempt to hold our 3rd quarterly meeting on a Thursday evening during the 1st half of August, and the 4th quarterly meeting during the 1st half of October.

Capital vs O&M Expense

We continued last month’s discussion of how to determine whether a ferry expense was capital or O&M. We would like to have a joint meeting with Public Works in September to jointly discuss this issue.
John spoke to some accounting and business acquaintances and was told that deck plating and painting were certainly O&M; replacing out drives is likely O&M too; replacing engines could be either  depending on the situation. Overall, all of these determinations seem to depend heavily on how one interprets the words: “significantly extends the life of the vessel”. If the expense does significantly extend the life of the vessel, then it is a capital expense, otherwise not.
Allen pointed out that the 2013 EBDG report defined some projects as capital expenses. Some the action items in those defined projects have already been done to the vessel.

BERK Study

The first input session for the general public is being hosted by BERK and KPFF on July 17th at the hall. Data will be presented at that meeting showing mid day ferry loads which should illuminate the debate over the need for an additional mid day, scheduled run. Dave worked with Rachel and Chris from Skagit County to organize this data into a presentable form. They are hoping to have this data (e.g., runs where at least one car is left behind) housed in a database so it can be queried on an ad hoc basis.
We concluded that the main responsibility of GIFC members at the July 17th meeting was to listen.

Needs Based Proposal

John and Bud discussed the various concerns John had raised about the proposal before John became a GIFC member. John would like to see a $20,000 cost limit using the same discounts as the current senior rates. The proposal as currently written by Bud recommends a higher cost limit and a deeper discount. John and Bud agreed that they would discuss these differences during the next weeks and present their conclusion back the GIFC.

New Business

We wondered when the Glosten 100% design effort will complete. Will Moon will be at the July 17th BERK meeting so we can ask then. (Editor’s note: On July 17th, Sandy spoke to Will and was told they expected completion by the end of 2019.)
We also wondered when the in-depth marine survey report would be publicly available. (Editors note: On July 17th, Rachel was asked this question and stated that it should be available in a few weeks.)

Skagit Transit Service

GIPAC has been discussing the possibility of a permanent, regularly scheduled bus service on the island that would pick up islanders at designated locations on the island and deliver them to specific ferries on the Guemes side. Then another bus would meet these passengers on the Anacortes side taking them to popular shopping and other Anacortes locations. The buses would work in the other direction also. GIPAC member Steve Orsini is apparently planning to speak on this subject at the July 17th meeting. (Editor’s note: As it turned our, this did not occur.)
One of our guests, Edith Walden who is a member of GIPAC, stated that GIPAC policy was that the ferry service should not be used as a tool to control growth on the island. Bud stated that he understood GIPAC policy to be that only ferry size should be so used.

Action Items

Talk to other small ferry systems to determine how they distinguish capital vs O&M expense. (TBD)

Set up a meeting between the GIFC and Skagit Public Works to discuss capital vs O&M expense determinations. (TBD)

Add an auto-response message to our Linetime email address. (Allen)

Reserve the hall for our 3rd quarterly meeting. (Sandy)


The meeting was adjourned at 9:18 pm

[Notes taken by Sandy McKean]

Tags: GIFC meeting minutes 2019